Just 4 Sydney-side Hartnells

Just 4 Sydney-side Hartnells

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

 Blogger refuses to put this photo right side up, so you must twist your head. We transformed the apartment into a formal dining room with a lounge out the back.

Here is the lounge complete with a Chinese decor, flowers, and grapes. Our neighbor, Maurene, made us appetizers of prawns (shrimp but larger) and sausage rolls. Most folks saved themselves for dinner.

We had 11 guests plus ourselves and the table was full of side dishes that everyone brought. This year was much easier to prepare, but the turkeys didn't cooperate. It takes much longer with the type of oven we have to cook two birds. Lucky for us, Maurene allowed us to use her oven too.

Cam had a carving station in the corner as if we were at a 5 star restaurant. Lets face it, we were all fancy with our matching plates and cloth napkins. Everyone had a fabulous time and really enjoyed the tradition of mentioning what they were thankful for...including their new house, vacuum cleaner, pets, Harvey Norman, and dual control fans in a car.

Para Wirra - Gold Mining Adventure

Cam and I have been visiting Para Wirra, a gold mining landscape north of Adelaide for close to a year. I think I've posted on this before, but have some photos that are backed up. Here I am next to a small lake. It was a beautiful day a few months back.

We walked through the woods looking for and documenting small pits or former buildings. Since we have been doing this in so many seasons, we've come across some beautiful plants. Check this flower out that turns from pink to blueish-purple. 

Cam paused just long enough for this photo. It has been beautiful weather, as evidence in this image.

This past weekend we were out with our friend Jo. We were trying to follow a former road through the woods, which proved to be more difficult than we had hoped. You can probably tell that I'm over 5 months pregnant in this shot and am sporting some nice looking pants...at least MacGurkey was mellow the whole time.

Just as we were leaving, we stopped to snap this shot in the former schoolhouse. My feet are tired, but Cam has just downloaded the points from our GPS and wants to label photos.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kicking off from England

 Our trip was excellent and really fun. Of course what trip to England would be complete without some castles. I don't remember exactly where this was, but I believe we were in Oxford in one of the colleges. Cam & him Mom taking a break on our walk.

 We also went to Blenheim Palace, another castle in my book. There was a fantastic, wicked maze that everyone enjoyed. I managed to break out ahead to snap this shot with the top of Tony's head, Cam running to hide from MaryEd, and ME trying to keep up. It was comical.

 At the center of the maze was "BLENHEIM" spelled out in bushes. Giving me the opportunity for this shot.

With Tony & MaryEd on their way to China to visit another son & his family, we took the rental car down to visit Colin in Bristol. On the way back, we stopped at the Queen's castle, but she wasn't in. Instead, we had to just have that statue in the background.

One of the most exciting parts of the trip was the A380 airplane that we flew home in for the first leg from Heathrow to Singapore. We had an awesome seat, and Cam was really excited. It was the first time for us on one of those "JUMBO" jets & let me tell you it was huge! Lots of head room when you were standing at your seat. I didn't like the way the chairs reclined because the seat part moved forward, which banged my knees.
I suppose the other slight discomfort was my belly. Our flight was even more memorable because that was the first time we felt McGirkey kick! Yep, Cam & I are expecting to expand our family of 2 to be one larger in March. Cam couldn't decide if he was more excited about the baby's kick or the plane. I've had an uneventful pregnancy so far, but am heading out shopping now because most of my pants no longer fit.

The First Bridge of Iron

Cam & I made a pilgrimage to Ironbridge Gorge & it was all I had thought it would be and more. With 10 different museums, we wish we could have spent more time in the geologically amazing valley. The beauty of English countryside has always been usurped in my mind by its industry. (If you are wondering why I made that statement, just look at the profile.)

 Here's a shot with me and THE Iron Bridge. Because the gorge is so young & the bridge is only from 1779, it has buckled up in its center. The area was well known for its iron production with deposits of iron ore and coal. The first smelted iron and wrought iron using coal as a fuel was made possible by the Darby family.

I mentioned the fact that there were 10 museums in the little area, each that focused on another, smaller industry than iron. One was a tile works. I've dabbled a bit in ceramics, but not tiles. This bar was one of the highlights of a series of rooms that used tiles. Pretty special, huh?

Another small museum was the Tar Tunnel. It is exactly what it sounds like. In trying to dig a passage to a canal, they ran into a natural bituminous tar deposit. Instead of using the tunnel for its original purpose, people started to harvest the tar for boats. It was super sticky.

The Darby furnace was really remarkable to see. Like I said, a bit of a pilgrimage for us and worth every minute. The furnace was expanded several times, hence the four iron bars that brace and helped to hold up the body of the furnace. Darby reused an unused furnace to experiment with the coal and iron.

 We had the opportunity to dress up in period clothing worn by Quakers like the Darcy family. It was pretty fun, and lets be honest. Cam's beard fits perfectly for this shot. its just the jeans sticking out that look strange.

 Another shot that adds to our collection of face cut-outs. There was a huge exhibit about the great exhibition and all the ironwork made by the Darcy company.

In visiting dozens of industrial communities, I love trying to pick one or two things that are not really seen elsewhere. For Ironbridge, that was its iron curbing. Many small communities use local material at the edges of its streets, but for me this was a first. 

 Finally as our trip draws to a close and we start heading home, just thought I'd leave you with this shot. The road has been torn up so much and constantly requires replacement that the local government decided to use wood. The gorge is very young, and constantly moves. Pretty crazy huh?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Part 4 for England: Paddocks & Scenery

One of the most amazing parts about our trip was the scenery. Mornings tended to be foggy or rainy, and it cleared as the morning passed. This shot was by Cam and captured the bird mid-flight. Stunning.

 I thing this shot was one of my favorite. The windmill, the clouds, the sheep, absolutely picture perfect. We looked at this scene for an hour or so.

The weather was mysterious some mornings. We often parked alone sleeping next to a empty paddock, but occasionally we were in the company of others. Another morning, another foggy start.

The dew kissed cob-webs sparkled even in the haze. This lock was a prime example. 

Thatched roofs abounded even in the smallest of towns. Check out this duplex with a bird on one side and a fox slyly creeping up to it from behind.

Another canal tidbit were these swing bridges that linked one paddock to another. They may be tiny, but they can handle a tractor. 

England again...

 The canal was full of interesting bits in between the extensive green paddocks. For example, we went through a wicked cool tunnel. Over 300 feet long and had a crazy echo potential. I didn't let loose completely to save everyone's ears. People at the front of the boat had the light, but I was driving in the dark & just heading towards the end.

That was my first day driving & I really thought it should have been my last. See, I broke the boat. Not a minor break, but a large one that shredded bolts and disconnected the chassis from the engine. Notice in this shot how the silver bits are not connected?

We headed to Stratford-Upon-Avon and even went into the house where Shakespeare was born. People have been visiting that house for over 250 years, a pretty amazing thing in itself. Check out me in Shakespeare's recreated garden.

Another canal highlight was the large aqueduct. Cam allowed me to continue driving and he went to take some photos. Luckily the boat can't really go anywhere, even if I stop steering. 

We worked A LOT of locks that first week...150 to be exact. That's quite a few to do, especially when the first one you ever did was just that week. This shot of Tony epitomizes what we saw many, many times.

The boat was really a nice size. Each couple had a bedroom and a bathroom. We shared a common space that had a kitchen, small fridge, and eating area. Here's a view looking from the front of the boat into that kitchen. 

Our bedroom was in the back. The bed had a section you can just see on the left that folded down and allowed you to sleep across the width of the boat. This is looking toward the kitchen at our bedroom. Not huge, but large enough to live. More pictures coming your way soon...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The English Canals Part 2

So remember in my last post when I said that pubs & canals go hand in hand? Here is case in point: C with a pint. The beer in England is much less carbonated than that of the US or Australia. Cam liked it more, but it wasn't my cup of tea. Speaking of tea, there sure was lots in Britain.

We were able to meet up with other Hartnell's while around including a cousin and her husband. They will be in Sydney for Thanksgiving and will be spending it with Cam's parents.

Here's two typical shots of what was happening on the canals: MaryEd cranking a lock, Cam driving Sarah with Tony navigating and me snapping some pics.

Warwick Castle proved to be better than I expected. Here's a shot of us from the tower, which had a spiral staircase leading up to it. The castle had a very "Disney" feel to it with Halloween coming up and a haunted dungeon tour. We skipped it but did see the "goal" or jail, which gave me the creeps.

The wickedest part of our tour was the Trebuche, a medieval weapon that launched a flaming ball at your enemy. This one had two hamster-wheels that were propelled by people to pull the large counterweight block up in the air. When released, the block falls and the fiery mess is propelled across a field.

England part 1

Hey there cyber world & friends. Cam & I just returned from England and I've got lots of posts to put up. We went with Cam's parents & stopped at Tony's school after we landed. Here's a few shots from that campus, a boarding school with lots of playing fields and historic buildings.


The school included a really cute bridge that connected it to the small neighboring town. Picture a very typical country town outside of London. The wind was brisk, but the scene was exceptionally green.
 We picked up our CANAL boat Sarah and immediately started hitting some locks. In total during the first week, we opened and closed 150 locks! That may not sound like very much to many of you, but trust me when I say my muscles felt each one. Here's a shot with Cam at the helm & Tony winding down a lock gate while MaryEd swings open the other door. It took teamwork, and we had quite the team.

One of the best things about this trip was the pace. Picture walking, but a bit slower. We got to hang with the wildlife including some really big swans. These were some "swanlings" that had not yet turned completely white like their adults.
The serenity of the evenings and sleeping while it rained waking up to fog & cool temps was very relaxing. We generally would eat lunch or dinner at a different pub alongside the canal. You aren't allowed to travel while it is dark, so you are up when the sun is. Cam took this self portrait.

 We did lots of locks, but MaryEd did them all. She was a trooper and this shot captures one of the staircases of locks. These were kind of easy because you can walk between locks. Many times, she would walk ahead and make sure the following lock was ready for the boat. Like I said, we made a great team. Stay tuned for more canal and English countryside shots.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cars & 100 posts!

I forgot that a few weeks back, Cam & I took a trip up north to visit the National Motor Museum. I've been to the one in the US and this is similar. The exception was Ford's eccentric nature and his impact on the collection. One of my favorite cars was this one that traveled across the middle of Australia. The black box on the hood was a cooling mechanism. The Leyand brothers shot a series of TV shows about that adventure. We watched the first & last episodes watching them dump water from the west coast into the east.

Check out Australia's largest working phone! Driven into your town, with the right hook up, you could call anyone in Australia for free. I loved the big buttons.

The motorcycles were pretty wicked, but this ride that sparkled was really my favorite.

Cam took this shot before we left. It was next to a truck that someone drove for 40 years to collect mail.